Climbing Destinations: The Bugaboos
The Bugaboos or the „Bugs” (Bugaboo Provincial Park) is regarded as Canada’s best destination for alpine rock climbing. The mountain range is located in the core of the Purcell Mountains, on the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The range consists of about half dozen of granite spires with summits as high as 10,000 feet. The Bugs are a real alpine environment, on the way to the majority of the routes you have to cross glaciers.
The Bugs have something to offer for mountaineers with various climbing skills. Here you can get some first alpine experiences on classic multi pitch routes like the Kain Route. Free climbers may challenge with the east face of Snowpatch Spire or Howser Massif.
Bugaboo Provincial Park is located in the southern British Columbia. You can get there by car driving to the town Brisco on Highway 95. Once there turn left at the sign for the Bugaboo Recreation Area. 28 miles more and you get to the Bugaboo trail parking area. From there you start hiking to the Conrad Kain hut, that is over 2000 feet higher than the parking area. From there, it’s only an hour to the closest spires, and about two hours to the Snowpatch Spire.
It is possible to climb in the Bugs from early June until mid-September. Best time is July and August, although bad weather is common even then. Glacer conditions worsen in the late season..
Storms and rainy weather are quire normal thing in the “Bugs” area. It’s better to finish climbing around 2 p.m. to avoid the risk of being “caught” by lightning storms on the summit. It’s also bear country, so act accordingly. Porcupines will wreak havoc on your car’s wires, hoses etc – so be sure to fortify it with the chicken wire. Pack rats will be your constant companions on the approach and on the wall. Hang, hide or bury in a cravasse all food and climbing gear.
Kain Hut is the best option. You can make reservations by Alpine Club of Canada. There are discounts for ACC members. The non ACC must place reservations 30 days in advance. It has gas and electric stoves, cookware, sleeping pads and can sleep around 50 people. Besides, there are two campgrounds: one close to the Bugaboo Glacier, and the other below Crescent Spire.
Bugaboo Rock guide by Randall Green and Joe Bensen shows almost everything done up until 1990. For more current information browse the web site or check the American Alpine Journal and Canadian Alpine Journal. The Kain hut has the excellent collection of route information and maps.